Suspended in an un-fit hell…

Scarce is the day in which I don’t stop three or four times, and consider that the moment I exist in, at the point when I stop, might never end – and this might be my eternal hell.  In this context, I regularly fear that hell might be the capture, protraction, and subsequent exaggeration or intensification of any moment that I’m not particularly enjoying.


As I write this, it’s 4:45 a.m.  I’m sitting in the San Diego airport among dozens of middle class zombies, babbling incessantly and emotionless into their cell phones, while juggling crying babies, briefcases, Starbucks cup lids, scones, personal electronic devices, and bad dispositions.  The number of whom, and intensity of, increases.

God forbid something might happen to time at this moment, that I become eternally stranded here in a never ending continuation of right now – suspended at the will of a force I would be unaware of, with no possibility of an exit.  

I suggest many people feel this way with their bodies; suspended in a hellfull moment, feeling as though they have no control of their situation but to exist within it.  Be it excess weight, a lack of flexibility or strength, or a lacking aesthetic, they feel suspended in their body-now, beyond their control.

I will also suggest that in a majority of such cases, the suspension in the moment might be lifted, and that an exit is plausible, even likely with proper planning and execution.

Escape Plan

Escape from non- fitness hell is an endeavor. In any endeavor there must first be the thought of conclusion. If there is no thought of what outcome lie, then the term endeavor will turn the word drift. Drifting is probably not the best course or method for exiting hell.

Pick a goal; plan an exit strategy from non-fitness hell, but be realistic. If your objective is to be a size smaller than your teenage daughter, or is to be built like the tight end you admire on Sunday afternoons, then your goal is likely beyond you.

If however, your goals are to earn your way to a better place; to harden up your muscular frame a bit, to drop some body fat over a period of time, to become more flexible, stronger, or to slow the clock of aging down a bit, in time, you might just earn your way out your current suspension in non-fitness.

1) Set realistic boundaries

Before you can set your fitness goals, understand that you must first establish the boundaries of your lifestyle; family, job, church activities, etc.

How many days per week are your truly willing to commit to a fitness program. Over committing often leads to frustration and failure. Better to start with one days per week, and prove to yourself, during a month’s time, that you can exercise once per week. Then, after a month, add one more workout per week if it seems reasonable. If you start by working out six days per week and realize you can’t keep that pace, statistics show that you will likely get disillusioned and give up. 

2) Establish realistic goals within a sensible time frame

Once your boundaries are established, then conceive your goals, based on the limits of your boundaries. Take regular inventory of your goals; remember them, write them down, recite them as you drive to work, or as you shower.

Don’t expect change overnight. Accept from the beginning that you are probably months, if not years away from fully realizing your goals. However, with your workouts eating in proper check, you should see and feel some changes in your body within weeks.

3) Balance your workout

Assemble a comprehensive plan including a variety of fitness values. Include:

  1. Balance work
  2. Stretching and flexibility work
  3. Strength training
  4. Cardiovascular/cardio respiratory activities such as: treadmill, StepMill, stair-stepper, elliptical trainer, or stationary bicycle.

4) Don’t pamper yourself

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the road from hell must be paved with effort.  Exercise, to be successful, should be rigorous if not intense. There is a direct relationship between intensity and success in any endeavor. Fitness; the changing your body’s capacity and aesthetic look is no different.

5) Make sound eating choices

Don’t attempt to change your eating all at once.  Gradually take control of your dietary boundaries by incorporating inclusions and exclusions into your lifestyle.

Inclusion Example: An inclusion is to add 1 item into your diet at a given time each day for three weeks. Oatmeal, for example, each morning at breakfast. After three (successful) weeks, and exclusion would then be incorporated.

Exclusion Example:  An exclusion is to remove one (existing) item from your diet each day for three weeks. That second glass of wine in the evening, for example, or the candy bar at lunch. Exclude that item each day for three weeks. Then, add in another inclusion, such as having 1/2 a protein bar in the mid afternoon instead of the candy bar.

Over a period of weeks and months, you can gradually change your eating structure without crashing head first into a fad diet, or starvation therapy.

Inclusions and exclusions, approached sensibly, are your best option for successful, long-term dietary changes.

There you have it, the basic framework to release your from your fitness hell.  In my professional life in fitness, I have seen many people try many methods to facilitate their escape from non-fitness hell. Some have succeeded, most I have known though have failed.

Those who have succeeded seem to have had two things going for them; a realistic goal, and a healthy respect for the word commitment, in pursuit of that goal. No fitness trainer, no fad diet, no device or apparatus sold at 3:00am on cable TV will help you change your body without a reasonable goal, and the decision to fulfill that goal.  If you are one who lives in a non-fitness hell, this might be a hgood exit strategy for you.  This airport scene?  I’m not so sure.  It could be a long eternity for me.  Be well.  rc

3 responses

  1. Roy!

    Your blog is certainly appropriately named, as your interesting contemplations stirs the same in me. As someone who lives very much in the moment, I have known some moments that seemed to last way too long!
    Karma, as change, happens, and with this gift, we go on to the next thing.

    Les Brown said, “If you are going through hell…the best thing you can do, is keep on going!” Hopefully, your flight has had a soft conclusion, and your visit will be nothing like sitting in the slow moving waiting areas of airports!

  2. Well Dr. J, there was conclusion to my San Diego airport scene; my arrival in Chicago. Conclusion in the form of planes, trains, automobiles, walking in wind and rain, and temperature changes, jet leg, exposure to a college campus laden with virus, and my own personal case of H1N1. Guilty I am.

    Just a different kind of hell. I wrote this so long ago, and have endured so many body aches, temperature spikes, nausea spells, that I had forgotten I even went to Chicago, orthat I had ever written this.

    What does all of this have to do with my column or your response to my column? Nothing. Just feels good to be upright for the first time in nearly a week.

    Life gets started agian…

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